PAHOA, Hawaii - A former Tennessee resident in Hawaii said her family's situation has turned dire because of the volcanic eruption.
Fast moving lava has destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands of people to evacuate.
"Hawaii is different in that it has very runny lava, and because it's runny, it allows gases to escape out of it relatively easily," Dr. Brad Pitcher said. "Think about blowing bubbles into milk rather than blowing bubbles into molasses, so those bubbles are able to escape out of something more runny."
Those bubbles pop and turn into toxic gas, making the air quality dangerous for residents.
Dr. Pitcher teaches volcanology at Vanderbilt University. He has been passionate about volcanoes since he was four years old.
"Hawaii also produces something called 'vog' which is volcanic fog, and that can be hazardous to breathe in," Dr. Pitcher said.
Mary Binkley, her small child, and her fiancee evacuated their home several weeks ago. She left Rutherford County to start a new life on the Big Island.
She said hotels are booked, and her family's emergency funds are slim.
"It's a very humbling experience to go through something like this because you don't ever expect to be in a situation where you can't house yourself," Binkley said.
An Airbnb host is allowing Binkley and her family to stay at a home for free. She doesn't know if her home is still standing.
"It's very scary that that part of the island could be completely cut off, and there's no way of knowing if the lava's going to stop or if it's going to continue going or when you're going to be able to go home," Binkley said.
Binkley doesn't have a job right now due to issues caused by the volcano. She said in some places, resources are running out too.
"The gas masks they've been passing out help protect against the ash fall," Binkley said. "They've actually run out of those at the shelters, so there's a huge need for gas masks here."
According to a volcanologist, there's no signs to show that the Kilauea eruption is slowing down.
"Just from today, the lava flows have begun to be channelized, and when lava flow becomes channelized, it makes it so it can remain warm for a long period of time before cooling into solid rock," Binkley said.
If you would like to help Binkley and her family during this difficult time she has a gofundme page.
You can also mail her gas masks and filters rated for volcanic activity, size 4 and 5 diapers, clothing for an 18-month-old, and camping supplies.
Those supplies can be sent via mail at:
P.O. Box 684
Pahoa, HI 96778